Kusal Mendis debuted for Sri Lanka after less than a handful of First Class matches. Like his namesakes – Ajantha Mendis and Duleep Mendis – Kusal hails from Moratuwa, a suburb of Colombo. Like most Moratuwaites, he throws caution to the wind while batting.
After his first 13 Test innings, Mendis had just one half-century. Then he produced a stunning 176 against an attack that comprised Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon. That set the stage for a 3-0 clean sweep of Australia.
At the age of 24, Mendis already has six Test hundreds. Not even the great Aravinda de Silva or Kumar Sangakkara could boast of such stats at that age. Of those six tons, he could have converted two into double hundreds. He was dismissed for 196 and 194 in the space of nine months attempting to reach the milestone with a six.
The seven and half hour marathon to score an unbeaten 141 to save a Test match in Wellington is one of his better knocks though.
Mendis was the hero as the Sri Lankans stunned India in the Champions Trophy in 2017 with a seven-wicket win. Chasing a stiff target of 322, Mendis top scored with 89 and had a hundred for the taking before being run out. He has been a bit of a run out specialist being lousy running between the wickets.
Mendis has had tremendous success playing fast bowling and is not afraid to take them on. He can be a treat to watch playing those straight drives. He remains susceptible against quality spin though with the sweep shot often bringing him trouble.
Sri Lanka have tried him as an opener in the past but the ploy has backfired.
Mendis is also Sri Lanka’s standby wicketkeeper and one of the best slip catchers in the team.
He will be the mainstay of Sri Lanka's batting during the World Cup occupying number four position.